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09/27/13 10:38am

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  • Image via Subwaynut

With the L train still down for the count on weekends (at least, if you need to get anywhere between the Lorimer stop and Myrtle-Wyckoff), now seems like a good time to bite the bullet and come up with some alternatives. Unless you had your heart set on spending the entire weekend in the orbit of the Bedford stop, in which case, uh, to each their own.

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But, as the Times helpfully reminded us this week, there’s another train line that runs through North Brooklyn, one that connects the “gritty, hyper-authentic” neighborhoods while still retaining the “humble, old-time ‘el’ feel [and] also exposing straphangers to blistering winter chill on the outdoor platforms.” The JMZ. Home to mystery garbage water that rains down from its elevated tracks, but also, home to a lot of North Brooklyn’s best bars, restaurants, and venues, which as a rule are just a little less packed and unbearable than a lot of their counterparts along the L. While the MTA continues doing whatever it’s doing, here are a few short itineraries to get you started.

09/26/13 3:37pm

When you go down the list of appropriate ways to utilize a public park, throwing a wholesome daytime party for a bunch of kids is pretty high up there. Still, in the wake of last weekend’s Worldwide Day of Play (a free, ticketed event thrown by Nickelodeon for over 35,000 children), people are pretty pissed, on account of the fact that the Nethermead portion of the park is now back to its old ragged, post-Googa Mooga self. And the fact that its inevitable destruction during major events seems to be more and more inevitable with each one.

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Brooklyn Paper spoke with several concerned locals, all of whom said things like “The Prospect Park Alliance’s idea about proper uses for the park are loathsome,” “We are witnessing a for-profit private land grab in the heart of Brooklyn,” and “It is so disheartening after events like these to see the blatant disregard for our backyard.” None of which is wrong, necessarily. If you’re lucky enough to live close to Prospect Park and go there all the time, it would be frustrating to find one of its most beloved areas shuttered for five days for a private event that left the place tattered and trampled. But then, the park could also probably really use that $150,000 Nickelodeon paid them for the privilege. Which is the crux of the problem with all of these huge events in Nethermead (Googa Mooga shelled out $75,000 for the space, for instance).

“We have a mission to bring different types of events to the park for the public and we have a responsibility to restore, maintain and preserve the park,” said a spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance. “And these events do bring in revenue, so it is sort of two-fold.”

Which is fair enough. The park has to make ends meet somehow. And the question of how public parks should drum up funds is a complicated one (our own Henry Stewart has an excellent post about it here) until, say, our public officials go ahead and decide to fairly distribute full funding to all of our city’s crucial green spaces? Har har har. Until then, maybe no more children’s parties here? And definitely no maddening, overpriced food festivals.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

09/26/13 1:11pm

Greenhook Ginsmiths Chauncy Buck

  • Greenhook Ginsmith’s Chauncy Buck

After months of planning and anticipation, followed by a bout of nervous sweats prior to our panel talk and a wave of exhilaration after, we’re kind of bummed that Northside’s own culinary festival, Taste Talks, is actually over. That’s why we plan to drown our sorrows in earnest at a variety of other local food events, and Brooklyn Exposed’s Brooklyn Shaken & Stirred party seems like the perfect place to start.

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Taking place on Tuesday, October 8th at the Green Building in Carroll Gardens, a $55 ticket buys unlimited tastes from seven area cocktail bars, as well as 15 of the borough’s best small-batch wine and liquor purveyors. Feel like joining us? Brooklyn and L Mag readers get a pretty face discount— $10 off when you input the special BKMAG ticket code. Need even more convincing? Start by test-driving these awesome cocktail recipes from a pair of Shaken & Stirred’s most notable participants; Williamsburg’s Huckleberry Bar and Greenpoint’s Greenhook Ginsmith’s!

Huckleberry Bar’s “Peychaud’s is a Virtue”
(Makes 1 Drink)

Ingredients:
2 oz. Industry Standard Vodka
1 oz. Lime Juice
.75 oz. Simple Syrup
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
10 mint leaves

Muddle mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, reserving one for garnish. Combine the rest of the ingredients in the shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the reserved mint leaf.

Greenhook Ginmith’s “Chauncey Buck”
(Makes 1 Drink)

Ingredients:
1.5 oz. Greenhook Beach Plum
.5 oz. fresh lime juice
Ginger beer

Mix first two ingredients in ice-filled Collins or highball glass. Stir. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with lime wedge.

Buy tickets here: bkshakenstirred2013.eventbrite.com

09/26/13 12:41pm

Williamsburg

  • Marilynn K. Yee c/o The New York Times
  • Williamsburg

To start, I should just say that I don’t live in Williamsburg. I have never lived in Williamsburg. Way back in 2000, I almost rented a two-bedroom apartment on Roebling and N 6th with my husband-at-the-time for $1,200/month, but we thought the second bedroom was kind of small and so instead took another two-bedroom in Clinton Hill for $1,050 a month and that’s all I’m going to tell you about real estate prices and what they were like more than a decade ago because it’s too depressing to dwell on for very long, I mean, my god that apartment on Roebling probably goes for three times that price now. I don’t want to think about it!

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And yet despite the fact that I’m not a resident, I’m still inordinately protective of the neighborhood when it gets written about by people who have clearly never spent any significant time there, but still have quite a bit to say about the trends taking place in said neighborhood. And, well, I think we can all pretty much agree that there isn’t that much more to say about Williamsburg, right? At least with regard to trend pieces? Everything that could be said, has been said. Everything that could be written, has been written. Everything that could be gentrified, has been gentrified. Right? Wrong! Apparently, the New York Times is only just discovering now that Williamsburg is not only serviced by the L train, and doesn’t just stop existing east of Bedford Avenue, and that in fact, the neighborhood actually extends south of Grand Street. YOU DON’T SAY! Ugh.

In the Times Styles section today, none other than “hipsturbia” expert Alex Williams examines Brooklyn’s version of the Mason-Dixon line, which is apparently Grand Street, and proclaims that North Williamsburg is now considered “a glitzy playground of glassy condos for banker types, chain stores and hordes of tourists from Berlin; Tokyo; Paramus, N.J.; and, worst of all, Manhattan…the area, especially around the Wythe Hotel, into Brooklyn’s answer to the meatpacking district.” Williams proceeds to extoll the virtues of the “gritty, hyper-authentic ‘South Williamsburg,'” where, he reports, residents feel that the neighborhood “has maintained its bohemian D.I.Y. roots, with its indie boutiques, bearded mixologists, artists’ lofts and working-class families.” Williams goes on, claiming that “status-conscious locals name-drop ‘North’ or ‘South’ as a way of telegraphing their membership in a certain tribe” and that “the new neighborhood monikers can be overheard in conversations” and on and on, trying really hard to make this trend piece happen.

I understand that I should know better than to a) read anything about Brooklyn in the Times Styles section and b) waste energy getting annoyed by it, but it still bothers me that the Times is allowing such bullshit to be published. Has Alex Williams ever even been to Williamsburg? Ugh, I know. Who even cares? Why should it matter? Well, it matters because this arbitrary neighborhood distinction that Williams based a two-page article on is ridiculous because much of Williamsburg (north, south, east…everywhere!) has been subject to massive development since the rezoning of 2005, thus changing huge swaths of the neighborhood and contributing to the skyrocketing rent prices that now abound. Did the development first happen in the northern part of the neighborhood, along the waterfront? Yes, sure. But it’s spread now to all parts of the area and will continue with the redesign of the Domino Sugar Factory, which Williams addresses in the article as some kind of south Williamsburg death knell. But the truth is obvious to anyone who actually knows anything about Brooklyn—all of Williamsburg has changed dramatically in the last 8 years. There have been untold numbers of articles, many books, and even documentaries already made about this. Why is the Times printing disingenuous crap like this? I get that they have some sort of Williamsburg trend piece quota that they need to fulfill every month, but surely there are some real trends to tackle that don’t involve made-up neighborhood divides and Girls references? No? Ok, fine. Then I look forward to next month’s Styles article on the topic of that undiscovered pizza place, Roberta’s. But in the meantime? Just leave Williamsburg alone.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

09/26/13 11:37am

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  • EPA/Justin Lane

Anyone hoping that all the damage incurred in Red Hook during Sandy would somehow mean cheaper real estate in the area (not an unreasonable assumption) will be disappointed to learn that not only have prices in the area held steady in the year after the storm, they’re more expensive than ever. So expensive, actually, that one Corcoran broker tells the Post, “Anyone who comes here looking to buy a finished place at $1.1 million needs to know that it is non-existent.” Yeeeowch.

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Most finished buildings (as opposed to the $900,000 “fixer uppers” cited) in the high-risk “AE” classified flood zone are more around the $2 million mark, with a $25 million new condo space slated to come into a building once owned by a dock company. One couple who recently moved to the neighborhood from Soho gave the usual party line people with impossibly expensive brownstones tend to give about any neighborhood in Brooklyn at all: “SoHo is like a giant mall now. Red Hook, with its factories and low density, feels like what SoHo used to be.” Not for long, though; brokers interviewed for the article assured us that condos coming in “may pressure the development of more goods and services, which will enhance the neighborhood.”

But, yes, for now, it’s just like how Soho used to be. Full of up-and-coming artists who can afford multi-million dollar homes and clever renovations to protect themselves from likely annual flooding. That is what it was like, right?

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

09/26/13 10:29am

Greenpoint Brooklyn live poultry slaughterhouse

Animal rights activists planned a protest at Lee’s Live Poultry in Greenpoint on Saturday until they realized the slaughterhouse closed months ago, DNAinfo reports. “Last time I was there it was active and recently I’ve only been there at night, so I had no idea,” one activist told the news website. “Since [Farm Animal Rights Movement] had that location in mind and I was familiar with it, we just decided to use that location since it is in a visible area—or it was.” The abattoir, which had been in operation for 85 years, closed in March of its own accord after a visit from government officials. The activists have decided instead to protest two live poultry places in Flushing; I know of one on Sixth Avenue in Sunset Park if you’re looking for another!

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But, should we really be protesting slaughterhouses? The reason so many farmed food-animals are treated so poorly is because most people have become alienated from the process and thus feel no ethical responsibility: we don’t see the conditions in which the animals are kept, and in fact state governments have recently proposed and passed legislation to ban the covert filming of livestock, criminalizing the few activist videos that emerge to expose wrongdoing and moral turpitude on the part of owners and workers. As a culture, we take great pains not to have to see the animals we eat. Few people even shop at butchers anymore; we don’t even see the meat get cut, encountering it only plated and cooked in a restaurant; plastic-sealed on a styrofoam bed in the market; or frozen in a cardboard box, products abstractly disconnected from their essence. Does anyone think of actual chickens when they see chicken nuggets? The less we see of how our meat is made, the worse conditions for the animals are allowed to become. See no evil, and evil prospers.

Greenpoint residents for years had complained about the smell of Lee’s Live Poultry, but that’s the smell of killing animals for meat: instead of no slaughterhouses, there ought to be a slaughterhouse on every block, and we should all have to smell that smell every day if we want to keep eating the way we do. Having people confront their food choices might be a more effective way of creating a more just world for animals rather than hiding away those slaughterhouses. Because when Lee’s Live Poultry closes, its chickens aren’t saved: they’re just killed somewhere else where we don’t have to worry about smelling it.

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

09/26/13 10:09am

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  • Image via New York Post

Well, the stoner part is sort of an inference about the Post‘s inference about this old, unflattering yearbook photo of Bill de Blasio apparently mid-blink (accompanied by the lede “Far out, man—I might be your mayor soon”). But is anyone really gonna take this copy about his “far-away gaze” any other way? Am I just seeing what I want to see through my own bleary-eyed 420-vision?

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Possibly! But probably not. Anyway, also notable, per the Post, is de Blasio’s open collar, indicative of the fact that “ties were not in style among the school’s activist set.” I’m not really sure what kind of herb wears a tie in a yearbook photo, but I suppose these were different times. Still, point taken. Bill de Blasio is probably, maybe, a weed smoking degenerate who will drag our city back down to its 1970s nadir within a month in office! Or embarrassing college photos of politicians are never not worth looking that. Probably the latter.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

09/25/13 1:09pm

Rumor has it that novelist-couple Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss may be putting their Park Slope brownstone up for sale, Fucked in Park Slope reports. The two bought the four-floor home on 2nd Street—the same block on which Obama once lived—in 2005 for roughly $6 million (give or take $1 million) after selling a smaller house on the same block for $3.25 million (and turning a profit of about $1.5 million). These people are writers, mind you—writers with well-to-do families!

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If they are in fact selling, the website reports the couple would want $15 million for the house, which would be a Park Slope record. (After a certain point, all millions sound the same, don’t they? I guess the difference between $8 million and $15 million is considerable, but not to us 99 percenters, am I right?) Everybody on the Internet thinks Foer is an asshole, among other reasons because he wrote a book that was pro-vegetarianism, which always sets off commenters; also, he has a weird finger-sculpture tree in his front yard. Can we start a Kickstarter to give him however much money he wants just so we can get rid of that thing?

We’d try to spin a trend piece out this, with Lethem on the west coast and Colson Whitehead now in Manhattan, except Fucked in Park Slope reports they’ve heard the couple has another house in Cobble Hill. Rich people!

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart